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Poisoned Earth, Poisoned Children

Ronnie Cummins- Organic Consumers Assoc.

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Mrach 12, 2015

The Dark Side of Nitrogen

Corn Industrial Ag

When was the last time you thought about nitrogen?

That’s what we thought. Yet with every bite you take—of an apple, a chicken leg, a leaf of spinach—you’re consuming nitrogen. Because plants, including food crops, can’t survive without a ready supply of available nitrogen in the soil.

It used to be that the amount of food a farmer could grow was limited by his or her ability to supplement soil nitrogen, either by planting cover crops, applying manure or moving on to a new, more fertile field. But all that changed about 100 years ago, when a technical innovation that enabled us to produce a cheap synthetic form of nitrogen ushered in the age of industrial nitrogen fertilizers.

For the last 50 years, farmers around the world have used synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to boost their crop yields and drive the 20th century's rapid agricultural intensification.

But in their fervor to increase yields, farmers often dose their crops with more nitrogen than the plants can absorb. The excess is now causing serious air and water pollution, and threatening human health. Ironically, all that fertilizer may even be ruining the very soil it was meant to enrich.

Read the essay


Poisoned Earth, Poisoned Children

Chemical Spray

For decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has known that Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide, marketed under names like Dursban and Lorsban, is dangerous to children and farmworkers.

And yet, the EPA has allowed the continued use of this dangerous pesticide on golf courses, on parks and on farms—where it drifts onto food.

In her recent article, “Pesticides, Birth Defects and Brain Damage in Children,” Dr. Janette Sherman, MD, says that chlorpyrifos “is a serious risk to health and intellect for people working and living in proximity to fields.” Sherman also said that detectable levels of chlorpyrifos in New York City children raises the question of exposure via food. According to Sherman:

Although the neurotoxicity of pesticides has been known for decades, recently, several national magazines, have named the pesticide, chlorpyrifos (Dursban/ Lorsban), as an agent causing loss of intelligence, as well as birth defects and structural brain damage.

Known to damage children’s brains, Dow’s chlorpyrifos is now up for review by the EPA. Will the EPA finally ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos? Or will the agency continue to allow Big Ag to poison our children?

Tell the EPA: Stop Letting Dow Chemical Poison our Children with Chlorpyrifos!